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Students press Maryland leaders to expand composting program in schools

The program diverted five tons of food waste from just one school away from landfills over a twelve-month period.

CLARKSBURG, Md. — Spring came early for some Maryland state leaders in Annapolis last Friday as students from Montgomery and Frederick Counties urged them to 'go green' and support a composting bill under consideration. 

Those students delivered hundreds of postcards by elementary school students who wrote about the importance of recycling, composting and a 'green' future. 

Maryland's elected leaders are considering a bill that would let local school systems apply for grant funds to begin composting programs of their own.

WUSA9 first met Shrusti Amula in 2019 when she was a middle school student. She and a group of students were instrumental in beginning Montgomery County's first-ever food composting program at Clarksburg Elementary School in Clarksburg.

READ: Three 7th graders started a project to recycle food waste from Montgomery County schools. Now, they could win a national award

Since then, two more schools in Montgomery County have started programs of their own. Amula, now a high school student at Richard Montgomery, has joined a student-led group called the 'Coalition to Re-Imagine Food Waste' which is pushing the bill in Annapolis. 

"Composting and food waste is such a big contributor to global warming. People just don’t realize that," Amula said.

At Clarksburg Elementary School alone, over a 12-month period, the composting program diverted nearly five tons of food waste away from the local landfills. 

The 'Coalition to Re-Imagine Food Waste' was instrumental in the postcard drive, which asked local elementary school students to write and draw messages to underscore the importance of composting and recycling. 

"Postcards are a really simple and effective way to show that we really have the community on our side," Amula said. 

Global engineering company Leidos has helped to fund the pilot composting programs in Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Division of Environment Protection provided green bins and composting bags.

Learn more about local recycling centers HERE.

RELATED: Bring your recyclables to WUSA9's #EnvironmentMatters Recycling Day on Feb. 26

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